OSHA recently released a new fact sheet related to confined spaces in residential construction settings. The fact sheet explains how employers can determine if confined spaces or permit-required confined spaces exist and how common spaces in residential construction are impacted by the standard.
OSHA defines a confined space as any space that meets the following criteria:
- is large enough for a worker to enter it
- has limited or restricted means of entry or exit
- is not designed for continuous occupancy.
OSHA requirements in residential construction for confined spaces primarily apply to permit-only confined spaces. Permit-only confined spaces are further defined under four additional criteria:
- contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
- contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant
- has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section
- contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard.
The confined spaces standard requires that confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces be identified before work begins. Note that OSHA requirements for compliance with the confined spaces standard applies differently based on what type of employer is working on the project. The property owner or manager, general contractor, and subcontractors all have unique requirements when it comes to identifying hazards connected to any confined spaces on a job site.
Identifying confined spaces and providing adequate training to your workers who’ll be accessing them is an important part of maintaining a culture of safety on your job site.
OSHA’s Confined Spaces page has several resources to help. If you’re interested in more information or have specific questions related to your construction business, feel free to give us a call at 864.905.7835.